Prayuth pushes Thai-style democracy

15 01 2018

Children’s Day in Thailand seems to officially involve making children comfortable with weapons and with the gangsters who command the military. This year, in his speech for the event, The Dictator declared: “Our country cannot afford any more conflicts. We certainly must have democracy. But it is Thai-style democracy. We must not break the rules. I ask all Thais to consider this…”.

A conflict-free politics is a repressive politics. The trick of a democracy is in handling conflict, minimizing it and channeling it in ways that avoid violence. That’s not always successful, but its arguably far superior than having trigger-happy goons running the show.

The Bangkok Post reported that Puea Thai Party’s Chaturon Chaisang reckoned that The Dictator had “cultivated authoritarian values for children…”.

That’s true and it is also true that he’s been doing this since the coup in 2014. There can’t be any surprises in The Dictator’s musings.

When he declared that “children … do their duties to the best to be the pride of their family. The priorities are nation, religion and the monarchy — keep Thainess forever…” he’s repeating royalist and military ideology. In fact, they see all Thais as children.





Push and shove on “elections”and a disingenuous junta

3 01 2018

Some commentators argue that the junta needs an election in order to embed all the conservative changes it has made. That would be so if its preferred people can actually “win.” Certainly the bigger political parties are dead keen for an “election,” even if conducted under the junta’s rules. More direct military rule in an extremely narrow political space does them no good at all.

The mainstream media is mostly pushing for an election. Even some activists reckon any election is better than a extension of the junta’s political nastiness.

All of these “pro-election” groups know that “the regime is paving the way for a military-backed political party which will draw members of existing parties to back it and support Gen Prayut[h Chan-ocha] and the regime to stay in power after an election expected in late 2018.”

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has questioned the (ever changing) election roadmap, doubting that an “election” can be held by November.

The Puea Thai Party’s Chaturon Chaisang reckons the “political landscape this year will be dominated by efforts to prepare for the NCPO [junta] to return to power after the poll” via a “nominee” party. He’s dubious the “election” will be held in November.

Former People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Suriyasai Katasila reckons its back to political polarization. He reckons an election will not take place until 2019.

As a kind of response, the Bangkok Post reports that “[e]lections for local administrative organisations (LAOs) are likely to be organised from May to July…”. The junta has used the local election card previously. This time there might be more to it. No parties involved and all the electoral bodies in the provinces firmly in the junta’s hands. The Post says General Anupong Paojinda “has been confirmed the LAOs elections would take place before the national poll…”. Maybe.

What is certain is that the military is determined to harass “politicians” (who aren’t members of the junta).

In a contrived event, all four regional army commanders “warned politicians against canvassing for support during the festive period while revealing soldiers have been deployed to shadow certain targets.”

One of the commanders, Lt Gen Wijak Siribansop, added that he’s most “concerned about academics, whom he said cannot be barred from voicing their views.” The military have been “talking” with academics in the north. The demand: “Do not try to touch on politics…”.

Lt. Gen. Kukiat Srinaka “revealed officials have been sent to secretly shadow targets in the 1st Army Region’s jurisdiction.” Lt Gen Tharakorn Thamwinthorn, “in charge of the Northeast, said his officers work with other agencies to monitor prime targets…”. He added that he disdained “politicians” and was keen to “apprehend them…”.

After all of this threatening and discussion of illegal acts by the deeply politicized military, Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich “insisted the army will act as a neutral player in the political sphere.” Jeez, what would it be like if they did insist they were taking sides? Probably not that different.

It’s a stitch-up.





Updated: All about the law II

2 04 2017

Bangkok Post editor Umesh Pandey gives some credit to the judiciary – the Central Administrative Court – for having ruled that “the military junta’s moves to take away the three passports held by the former Education Minister, Chaturon Chaisang, was a ‘serious violation’ of …[Chaturon’s] fundamental rights…”.

But he goes way, way too far when he states that the “judiciary is making great strides in bringing about fairness in society…”.

Thailand’s judiciary and its legal processes are somewhere between a joke and feudal. PPT has spent a considerable amount of space highlighting repeated failures and while we don’t expect Pandey to be a regular reader, surely he reads his own newspaper.

On the same day when he is full of praise for the judiciary and its “strides in bringing about fairness,” his colleague Alan Dawson lambasts elements of the judicial system and its double standards.

You might say that the judges are not the whole system, and that’s true, with Pandey slamming elements of it. However, there are now hundreds of cases that have gone to court in recent years that have seen judges fail all reasonable tests of fairness. Think of the scores of lese majeste cases, several cases we mentioned in a previous post, cases against Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, cases making coups legitimate, a judicial coup, cases against red shirts (and not against yellow shirts), allowing torturers to go free and many, many more.

Being honest, we think the judicial system is now broken beyond repair. We have royalists, the military, the palace and the judges themselves to blame for this sad state of affairs.

Update: A reader puts us onto another Bangkok Post story, where the headline is, NCPO urges Thaksin to stop ‘distorting the truth’. The junta says:

“Mr Thaksin [Shinawatra] should stop harming the country, show restraint and stop distorting information. If Mr Thaksin calls for justice from society, Mr Thaksin should give justice to society, too,” the NCPO spokesman said.

The junta demands that Thaksin stop harming Thailand. Yet it is the junta that distorts truth. It has done so for years now. And, if the junta demands the legal system for Thaksin, how about themselves? Why is it that Section 113 of the Criminal Code doesn’t apply to this bunch of thugs?

Section 113: Whoever, commits an act of violence or threatens to commit an act of violence in order to:

  1. Overthrow or change the Constitution;
  2. Overthrow the legislative power, the executive power or the judicial power of the Constitution, or nullify such power; or
  3. Separate the Kingdom or seize the power of administration in any part of the Kingdom, is said to commit insurrection, and shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.




Junta’s political strategy I

1 06 2016

Any use of the word “strategy” when referring to Thailand’s military dictatorship is likely to be overcooked. Yet the media has been writing of the junta’s strategy coming to the referendum.

One way of looking at the recent and much-hyped lifting of a travel ban on some politicians is that the military junta is declaring a political victory. And, that that “victory” allows the military a timely opportunity to “loosen up” prior to the constitutional referendum, where it craves increased support. Not only does it want the constitution to pass that vote, but some see the referendum as a measure of support for the junta and the royalist authoritarianism of the junta, to be embedded in the political system going forward.

The Nation recently reported that the junta “was scrutinising its [coup] orders issued earlier to ban politicians and political activists from leaving the country such as order 1/2557, 2/2557, 3/2557 and order 80/2557.” These orders essentially prevented some Puea Thai Party politicians and some red shirt activists from leaving “the country without [the junta’s] permission.”

None of the banned persons listed had ever been charged with any crime. It was just the junta’s way of repressing and watching them.

The junta announced that it “lifted the travel ban to reflect the improved political situation and to ease political tensions ahead of the referendum.” That led to suggestions that the junta was declaring political victory and that this was part of a “strategy” seeking to embed its polity going forward.

But, then, the junta did warn: “We did not ease all the rules as we need to maintain tight grips on some issues.” The statement also added the royalist claim of “we are all Thais”, declaring: “We relaxed the rules because we believe we are Thais alike…”.

Khaosod reported that some of the previously banned politicians in Puea Thai welcomed the move. The coup-loving, election-losing Democrat Party’s Wirat Kalyasiri said the move was “a good sign” and claimed it “will lead to reconciliation.” He may have jumped the gun. More thoughtful on the Democrat Party side was Nipit Intarasombat who said: “I don’t feel happy or excited that this order will be repealed, because it shouldn’t have been there in the first place…. Personally, I even think that the repeal comes too late.”

The Nation son reported that “activists” and “scholars” were less happy. Lifting the ban did not “respond to the needed assurance that people’s rights and liberty are protected, and also fails to fulfil the junta’s desire to ‘look good’ in the eyes of other countries.” They thought the junta was responding to “the international community’s recent criticism of the human rights situation in Thailand.”

Chaturon Chaisang pointed out that “although the junta had abrogated the travel ban, many measures still applied to the select group of activists and politicians. The ban on financial transactions that is applied against some of them is still in place, he said, adding that the threat of temporary detentions also remained.” And, he quite rightly pointed out that the list was never enforced by the junta against politicians it liked: “Many activists, although on the list, could go abroad as long as they do not slam the junta…”.

We were’t so sure. The travel bans have not really been front page for those criticizing the junta. Arbitrary detention, lese majeste, military courts and arbitrary powers are more significant. Except that the junta then followed up with another “concession.”

The junta has announced that “no longer will use military camps as venues for ‘attitude adjustment’ re-education sessions, instead sending dissidents to ‘friendlier’ government buildings for the talks.” In other words, it is going to harass opponents, and seek to “persuade them not to speak out against policies and actions of the military regime,” but not in military camps but somewhere else.

Where? “[P]ovincial halls and police stations will be used to house the political opponents…”. We guess the difference is that the abductions and detentions will be “civilianized.” As Deputy Prime Minister and General Prawit Wongsuwan said “of the forced incarcerations,” “the sessions would continue and those summoned would still have to report to military officials.” So “civilianization” is about location, not who is doing the abductions, detentions, interrogations and intimidation.

Adding to the seeming non-significance, the Bangkok Post reports that The Dictator has “rejected calls for the regime to relax the ban on political activities, saying politicians have failed to improve their behaviour.” Paternalism runs deep in the hierarchical military. He added that “content posted on social media and media interviews indicated certain politicians have not stopped making mischief.”

As ever, General Prayuth Chan-ocha angrily rejected such calls declaring “he was not considering easing other restrictions, as it could lead to public disorder and threaten the regime’s political roadmap.”

Failed Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the junta “to allow political parties to engage in activities that would help them prepare for reforms.” As usual, he resorted to weasel words, assuring the junta that politicians like him would be “good.” Politicians “who want to cause trouble, he said, would “resort to secretive means to achieve their ends…”.

In the end, neither of the steps is hugely significant. The major elements of repression and arbitrariness remain in place. Whatever the junta was “thinking,” and we are sure something must have been ticking in someone’s head, it was clear that the move was not a “softening” as some editorials claimed.

Our guess, and that is all it is, is that they are looking beyond the referendum and how they can fix an election in 2017 (should it go ahead). Our guess on top of our guess is that, like juntas before them, they are looking at which politicians to bring into a military party. That requires some accommodations to be made.





Thailand’s human rights lies

12 05 2016

As readers know, Thailand’s human rights record was examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group.

The Nation reports that the delegation sent by the military dictatorship “came under severe criticism over the human rights situation in the country with international delegates of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) raising serious concerns in Geneva yesterday.”

The junta’s delegation led by Justice Ministry permanent secretary Chanchao Chaiyanukij who is reported to have “toed the official line in responding to the questions and recommendations made by the UNHRC members, saying the junta needed to ‘limit’ people’s rights and freedom to maintain peace, law and order during the transition period.”

We are not sure he could explain what the “transition” was leading to, although political scientist Prajak Kongkirati has done this at Prachatai.

In a litany of falsehoods, Chanchao “told the UN yesterday that his government would take recommendations from the members in accordance with the capacity to implement. Thailand fully respected human rights but in the context of local circumstances, norms, and culture…”.

Thailand’s military dictatorship has no respect for human rights at all, no matter what the definition.

We know that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha knows nothing of human rights. He has stated his own uneducated and bizarre conception of human rights. The claim of domestic norms and culture is an excuse for nepotism, corruption, murder, torture and abuse. Think of the military’s culture and norms.

Many delegates asked pointed questions: the delegate from Greece called for an end martial law and the use of military courts; US representatives “raised a number of concerns over the role of the military court, the restriction of people’s freedom in the referendum law, the lese majeste law, freedom of expression, and Article 44 of the interim constitution;”and Britain’s delegate asked similar questions and asked “what plan the Thai government [meaning the junta] had to end the prosecution of civilians by the military court and their detention in military facilities.”

The junta has no plans for anything other than continued repression.

Remarkably, the junta sent a “judge from the military court … [as] a part of the Thai delegation” to concoct and fabricate the junta’s case. This military thug “explained” the “need” to prosecute in a military court “civilians who commit serious crimes with war weapons, disobey the junta’s orders or are accused of lese majeste.”

This is horse manure as all these “crimes” were conducted under civilian courts in the past.

The “judge” also “explained” that “defendants in the military court have their right to appoint lawyers and seek bail.”

As everyone knows, this is not always the case, with people being abducted by the military and held incommunicado and often without access to lawyers.

When the so-called judge claims that defendants “have all the rights for a fair trail in accordance with international standards,” any reasonable person knows this is a lie. As the junta stated early after it illegally seized power, military courts are used to plow under rights and to get quick convictions.

The Foreign Ministry also sent along a toady official to “explain” that the “lese majeste law was badly needed for Thailand to protect the monarchy.” 

She is not reported as explaining why the monarchy, always claimed to be “loved” and “revered,” needs “protection” that has harsher sentencing than in most murder cases. We guess it is the same tired and ridiculous claims about the monarchy being “special” for Thailand and unlike monarchies almost everywhere except in other hard authoritarian and absolutist regimes.

Her “explanation” for Article 44, which allows The Dictator to do anything that takes his fancy, seemed to rely on some cockeyed notion that the use of such draconian, unjust and capricious law is “not new in Thai political history…”. That bizarre claim was followed with yet another junta lie: “it was exercised with caution.” It has been used for all kinds of things, with “caution” thrown to the wind.

Thais should be embarrassed by this pathetic performance by a regime that lacks sense, credibility and seems unable to even think about its international performance.

Puea Thai Party member and former minister Chaturon Chaisaeng agreed, stating that “the UPR report on Thailand was the most embarrassing one, as it placed the country in the international spotlight for human rights violations.” He says “Thailand not only failed to pass the test at the UN session, the country also became a laughing stock…”. He’s right.

Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch “slammed Thailand’s responses in the UPR regarding the use of a military court to try civilian cases. He said it was false and insincere.” He’s right too.

He called out one lie: “The [junta’s] representatives said that only a small number of civilians had been tried before the military court. Sunai said, in fact, at least 1,000 civilians had been tried by the military court…”.

As well as “lies,” it was “hypocrisy” that was a common description of the military junta’s approach to the UN.





First takes on the junta’s draft constitution

30 01 2016

PPT hasn’t had a chance to look at the draft 270-article, 95-page constitution in any detail, but there are commentators who have (a PDF of the draft can be downloaded, in Thai). While most of the provisions have been flagged in recent weeks – at last the most controversial, we thought we’d combines some of that commentary here.

In the Bangkok Post, the anti-democrat agenda of the drafters and junta is made clear by the aged military flunkey Meechai Ruchupan: “”Given the limited time, we have drafted the best constitution within the 2014 interim charter’s framework. We want it to be the charter that can efficiently suppress corruption and does not whitewash wrongdoers…”. He referred to the draft as a “reform constitution.” In the Khaosod report linked below, Amorn Wanichwiwatana, spokesman of the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee, said the redesigned election system, will “prevent parliamentary dictatorship…”. He added: “It won’t be majority rule…”.

The CDC and junta are pandering to the anti-democrats and the fearful middle class. The anti-democrats will probably be happy (but see below), although the Democrat Party may be less so. However that party is able to lie in any bed.

One of the provisional clauses gives the military an extra three months in power, which The Dictator will have asked for. However, if the referendum dumps the charter, then military rule will be around for as long as the junta wants. In another interesting transition arrangement, if the charter gets up in the referendum, Article 44 remains in place through to a new government being formed. In essence, the draconian Article 44, which empowers the military junta to do anything it wants, stays in place. This allows considerable interference in referendum, election and the formation of any new government.

Pravit Rojanaphruk has an article at Khaosod that has a listing on some of the main (and, by now, well known) aspects of the military junta’s charter, in his sub-headings: Unelected Prime Minister and New Electoral System; Rise of Constitutional Court and Unelected Agencies Over Elected Government; Unelected Senate, Lack of Public Participation and a Less-Than-Democratic Charter. He also has some commentary.

Nipit Intarasombat of the Democrat Party doesn’t quite say it, but the charter tries to take Thailand back to a period of small parties, coalition building and busting, unelected premiers and vote-buying. The old political schemer and chief Privy Council meddler General Prem Tinsulanonda must be as pleased as Punch to have his political system essentially resurrected in this draft charter.

Nipit declares that the outside prime minister a threat: “This is unprecedented, and nowhere in this world can we find [such rules]. It allows for an outsider to become prime minister without being elected,” adding that the voting system “was designed in such as way as to ensure that no single party will ever gain outright majority in election…”.

The Puea Thai Party’s Chaturon Chaisaeng, saw the remarkable political power allocated to the Constitutional Court in legal terms:

“Having the power to define what constitutes a crisis and to use that power [over an elected government] is a serious dismantling of the check-and-balance system of the three branches under a democracy,” Chaturon said. “In getting it to try to solve [political] crises, the court will be increasingly dragged into politics. This is outside the democratic system, and will itself more easily induce crises.”

In fact, the new powers for the Court and for other independent bodies are to create a substitute for the monarchy’s political role, no longer considered reliable. Royalists and the elite figure they can maintain conservative control of the Constitutional Court.

Interestingly, a senior adviser for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee and regularly on their stage in 2014, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, also a former member of the now defunct National Reform Council, told the Bangkok Post that “the structure of parliament set out under the draft charter is flawed and outdated and goes against the principles of democracy.”

We are sure there’s plenty more commentary to come.





Old men renewed

7 10 2015

What is that statement by a dead philosopher? George Santayana, reflecting his times and his political conservatism, stated:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Marx put it this way when referring respectively to Napoleon I and to his nephew Louis Napoleon in The Eighteenth Brumaire:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

In Bangkok, it is arguably a little different as we see a sorry repeat of past farces as tragedy, as if The Dictator and his flunkies have no memory of their own past.

The appointment of Meechai Ruchupan to chair the new 21-member Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is not a surprise for anyone. This appointment of a loyal servant of the military was predicted as soon as The Dictator got rid of Bowornsak Uwanno and his lot when the military dictatorship became fearful of a referendum and elections.

Meechai has worked on several constitutions, for the military, in the past. The Nation has quite a matter-of-fact account of Meechai’s career as a conservative, royalist servant of various military regimes.

Meechai, who is a member of the junta (NCPO), has faithfully served royalist and military regimes, being a in various legal and political positionsto prime ministers Sanya Dharmasakti, Kukrit Pramoj, Seni Pramoj, Thanin Kraivichien, General Kriangsak Chamanan, General Prem Tinsulanonda, Chatichai Choonhavan and Anand Panyarachun.

Chatichai was ousted by a coup led by General Suchinda Kraprayoon and his National Peace-Keeping Council (NPKC) in 1991 and Meechai slithered into the acting premier’s position before Anand was hoisted into the top job by the military, arguably on royal advice.

In 1991, the military had Meechai appointed the leader of a charter-drafting committee, leading to the 1991 Constitution, which eventually lead to the May 1992 massacre. In drafting that constitution, Meechai simply plagiarized bits of a charter that had been used earlier by a military regime.

This, when the Bangkok Post reports that “[g]ood elements from past constitutions will be collected to include in the new constitution,” it is quite possible that “good” simply means the reproduction of military desires for control. That it is claimed that “a first draft is expected in January which would then be presented to the public for feedback” is no cause for celebration. Meechai has yet to accept the idea of public consultation, With it or not, we expect Meechai to produce royalist rules that suit the current junta; that’s his track record.

The Dictator, General Prayuth has already told Meechai what he wants. Meechai denies this, but the general has stated it as a fact.

Chaturon Chaisaeng is right to point out that “the new CDC is made up of several legal experts, its weakness is that none of its members have had experience in drawing up constitutions that uphold the principles of democracy.”

Prachatai reports that “[p]ro-democracy activists” have already “rallied in front of the parliament to protest against the new batch of constitutional drafters hand-picked by the junta.”





Civilian vs military courts

28 09 2015

There have now been two disagreements between civilian and military courts on who has jurisdiction over two important cases.

The first, reported a few days ago, involves Rung Sila or Sirapop (family withheld), accused of lese majeste. Rung Sila is the pen-name of a poet and cyber activist.

Rung Sila and his lawyer submitted a request to the criminal court under Article 10 of the 1999 Court Jurisdiction Act for a ruling on whether he should be tried by a civilian rather than a military court. On 22 September 2015, the Criminal Court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the case. The military court had earlier ruled that it had jurisdiction of the case. A Court Jurisdiction Committee must make the final decision.

Going to the criminal court rather than the military court is important for Rung Sila. As he refuses to plead guilty, being tried by the criminal court allows appeals, right up to the Supreme Court. Any verdict in the military court is final.

The second case involves of Chaturon Chaisang, a former Puea Thai Party Education Minister, charged with defying the military junta’s orders as well as “sedition, and breaking Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Code, importing illegal information into the computer.”

As in the first case, the criminal court has claimed jurisdiction over the case when the military court has earlier claimed jurisdiction. Again, as “the two courts disagree, the Court Jurisdiction Committee formed by officials from both courts shall make a final decision whether which court should be handling the case in accordance to Article 10 of the 1999 Court Jurisdiction Act.”

PPT is not sure of the broader significance of these disagreements. Perhaps the judiciary is objecting to its subordination to the military. For the defendants, what is important is that while all courts in Thailand are politicized, military courts are tools of the junta.





Dump the charter for more repression

11 09 2015

You cannot oppose me – self appointed premier, The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha

One of the emerging facts about the dumping of the draft charter is that The Dictator and coupmaker Prayuth is going to take an even stronger line in disciplining and repressing anyone considered an opponent.Spot the snake

Khaosod reports that an angry Prayuth:

… warned that his regime, which seized power from the Pheu Thai-led government last May, will escalate its measures against politicians who continue to criticize his government through passport cancellations, military detention, prison terms and even “taping their mouths shut.”

This outburst, typical of the erratic general, comes as the Puea Thai Party’s Pichai Naripatapan “was taken into indefinite military detention” and Karun Hosakul was reported to have been detained. Both have been mildly critical of the military dictatorship. Last week the military junta revoked the passport of another critic, Chaturon Chaisaeng, a former Puea Thai minister.

In another Khaosod report, the chilling nature of the extended repression is made abundantly clear.

Former minister Pichai’s “latest detention in an army camp – said to be his seventh since the coup – will only end when it deems him to be ‘cooperative’.” It is added that soldiers took Pichai from his home and “placed him in indefinite military custody at an army camp for ‘attitude adjustment’ due to his criticism of the junta’s economic policies…”. Last Tuesday, “Pichai wrote online that the recent delay to returning Thailand to civilian rule would damage the economy and open the kingdom up to sanctions from democratic nations.”

He’s right about the economy. But so far, now “democratic” nation has scolded the military for its actions in extending its dictatorship, so sanctions are unlikely.

The military junta cannot accept any criticism from those it sees as opponents, with Army chief thug General Udomdej Sitabutr saying Pichai is in custody because “his opinions do not match and comply with the way that we have agreed upon.”

More Prayuth quotes from Khaosod demonstrating his erratic behavior, paternalism and his desire for increased repression:

If the opinions appear to challenge the state power, can it be allowed?

How many days can my power detain him [Pichai]? Is it seven? I don’t know. It’s up to the conclusion of the interrogators. That’s how they are taught: The sooner the [detainees] confess, the faster it’s over. If they do not confess, then the case will go on.

I will deliberate on this myself. Whether there will be harsh or soft measures is up to me.

I don’t know what they [MICT] can do, because these websites are based abroad. We can only do something about websites in our country, and we are doing something. If these websites are from abroad, how can we shut them down? … In legal terms, they don’t have 112 [lese majeste law]. They don’t have that kind of law.

I’m just going to tape their mouths shut. We are working on this matter. The media doesn’t have to ask everything every day. Don’t force the prime minister to order everything. And as for politicians and political parties that keep talking these days, I beg you, if you don’t slander me with your words, I will leave you alone. But if you still attack the government, let me ask you, who will let you do that? Especially my type of government. No one can speak like that.

If you are parents with kids, and your children say that kind of thing to you, will you let them? I am not their parent. But let me ask you, if your children disobeyed your order, would you tolerate that? Those people who like to break the laws, they cannot do that to me.On your arse

If they won’t learn, they will be jailed again and again. That’s all. How hard can be it? If they do something wrong again, they will be jailed again.

Reporter: Is this an attempt to discredit you before you travel to the United Nations Assembly?

When I go abroad, no one shows disgust at me. And when I go abroad, I have someone taking care of the country for me. I am not afraid. If I am afraid, I wouldn’t be standing here.

The media never helps me. They only [criticize] me.

Think carefully: People whose cases are still in the justice system, should you write news for them? You don’t even know if they are going to jail. Why are you helping them? People who fled convictions, who fled abroad, who support anti-monarchy activities, why are you still talking to them? You don’t love the monarchy? You don’t love the country? You question me and make me angry. Society will pressure me. And how can we live like this? We won’t have happiness.





Updated: Still intent on silencing

2 09 2015

The Bangkok Post reports that the military dictatorship has revoked the passport of former Puea Thai Party education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng.

Why? Apparently “for defying the NCPO’s summons to report in, breaching martial law and inciting unrest in violation of Section 116 of the Criminal Code.”

In junta-speak, Chaturon has dared to chastise the criticism averse military junta.

The ministry source lied that the “passport cancellation was a normal practice at the ministry.” This is an unusual action and is targeting a politician the junta fears will criticize the draft constitution it is forcing on the nation and its people.

Chaturon is an articulate critic, in both English and Thai, and the junta wants to silence him in the run up to the constitution referendum, and we suspect that the junta is using this as a warning or is concocting further charges against him.

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that Chaturon has demanded an explanation for the revoking of his passports – one current and one expired. He reveals that while the “military court had approved his requests to travel abroad three or four times during the past 12 months,” the military junta has “recently rejected two requests, saying he had criticised them too much.”

Adding to this explanation of the personalized and paternalistic authoritarianism, The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that Chaturon’s passports were revoked because he was “making the same mistakes over and over,” and this was “despite being warned a dozen times.” He added: “Let’s look at their behaviour [opposition politicians]. If they are warned several times and don’t obey, then there must be some degree of punishment…”.